Buy From China, Some Basic Tips

china storage

I often buy from China so I can give you some advice. This task is much less complex than a few years ago. The first was an art to understand the reliability of a seller and the actual availability of a certain product, whereas now there are feedback to control, comments to read and the guarantee given by payments with international circuits.

The risk today is to import a product does not comply with European standards and to see, therefore, seized customs. Knowing how the method of delivery, how we should behave in case of problems and what kind of relationship to have with the sellers (often the same people who produce or with a much closer proximity to the production chain than our stores) it is essential when buying from China.

Basic recommendations

1 – Pay attention to the time needed for the preparation of the expedition. I do not speak of the time that the product will take to arrive at your home, but the time that the seller will take to prepare the package and ship the product. Do not assume that the shipment is taking place in a few hours as on amazon. Sometimes it takes days or weeks, and this clearly because not always the product is immediately in warehouses (even if it is given as available). I consider three days as an acceptable time, while a week an absolutely out of reach time; when it happens, you should wait a few days and check again if this timing is dropped – and if not wait again for it means that the product is still not in stock.

2 – Beware of pre-sales. Typically the Chinese are not reliable; the shops do not give much importance to this aspect and use them only to point out that a particular product is coming.Buy in advance does not even guarantee a priority over orders placed on the day of the actual availability (personally tested on several occasions). Sometimes the pre-sales last month, more often have the wrong data sheets, incomplete and unreliable, sometimes have higher prices than that will be the actual product. In short, stay away from advance purchases and only buy products in real stock.

3 – Beware of holiday periods. In China there are holidays in February and September, and usually at this time of the shops stop all kinds of activities. For example, during the Chinese New Year (depending on the year, between January and February) the whole aliexpress stops for weeks, and this is clearly a lot lengthen delivery times. Avoid buying during these periods (usually marked by banners and informational messages) if you hurry. Also it applies to the courier deliveries.

4 – Forget the warranty – unless you want to send your parcel defective in China. Tablets, smartphones and other gadgets can have factory problems, but when you buy from China, you must accept the risk of not having after-sales coverage. It ‘true that often, especially for very cheap products, the seller may be willing to re-send the goods (or reimburse you) if you can prove that the parcel will arrived damaged, but it is not something you can rely on. The warranty on Chinese products exists, but in practice it is difficult to use them.

5 – The free shipping is … slow. We will talk of shipments in the next section, but in principle consider this: the shipping included in the price, one that does not require additional costs, it takes 30 to 45 days on average. Fine for economic objects (from a few dollars) and if not in a hurry, otherwise forget it.

Shipping types

There are different, and most of the time you can only choose between free and express. Below is a summary of the most common. All shipments are traceable, even if only the courier offers a tracking service that can follow the pack from the start for the other.

China Post Air Mail

And free shipping one that is usually provided at no charge. It a bit our priority mail even though it has much more extended in time because it is not always attributed to the same vector, but uses various companies active in China (and this is one of the reasons why its operation is irregular) . And ‘traceable (but not in real time) and usually takes 20-30 days to arrive in Italy and other 10/15 to be sorted and delivered to your address by the Italian Post.

Hardly the packages shipped through this service are blocked in customs, but this depends on the size and nature of the product. If you arrive a registered block to the delivery address with instructions on how to receive the package; often it is to send a fax with the purchase documents. Recommended only if you do not hurry and for objects of little value.

Hong Kong Post

A sort of deluxe version of China Post, traceable in time (almost) real and often offered for a few dollars. It uses a system that sends abroad only 1 time per month, so the shipping time will vary depending on this departure. The packs could arrive in two weeks as in 40 days. Recommended for cheap and small products and only if you have had problems with the basic China Post low risk of detention under customs control.

Singapore Post

And ‘an economic dispatch with delivery times halved compared with Hong Kong Post. Use a postal service that acts abroad twice a month, so the packets often arrive at their destination in two weeks. Low risk of detention under customs control, but depends on the object’s size. And ‘it recommended the shipment including economic ones.


My Favorite and ‘the express shipping service used by the Chinese mail. In Italy Delivery in 7 days or so, courier costs less and has a low risk of detention under customs control for small packages and low value. I use it often for Mini PC, especially when the seller offers DHL, UPS and similar prices too high. Once in Italy, it leans Italian Post / SDA.

DHL, FedEx, UPS and other

The couriers are the fastest way to receive goods from China. They are also the recommended shipping method for packs of a certain value (such as tablet) and when it needs to receive the goods in 3/4 days from departure by the real-time route. Can be offered at a good price (say around $ 20, € 15) or made to pay much more than their real value.

UPS and FedEx, in general, are the fastest to deliver but the difference can be marginal. DHL is what often is the best price. All (all) they are obliged to declare the value of goods for customs purposes and to add operating expenses. This means that we will have to pay a 21% + expenses on delivery; ready cash in small denominations, if the courier does not rest could take away the pack and force you to pick it up at the branch – a real nuisance.

Experience and advice

Buy from China is not for novice users. If you’re the kind of person just brought online purchase let loose aliexpress and the like. If you want to get the bones, start with smaller and cheaper products, some usb gadget, a cover for smartphones, anything from a few dollars that only serves to make you become familiar with the wait Remember that Aliexpress a reputation system similar to ebay with votes and reviews left by users; in a proportion of 95%, forget it. Similarly distrust by sellers with 0 feedback, or just recorded. And if possible, always on aliexpress, see the number of ready-made orders of a certain product and this is a tool you can use to figure out if the seller is trusted by the rest of users. Do not forget, especially for stores like w2comp, dx, geekbuying and so on, that there is a pre-sales service to ask questions (of course in English) about a certain product or service. Use it, because the shopkeepers are often happy to help out and answer all your questions – is also a great way to test their readiness to “deal” with the customer. Happy shopping!

Tags : , , ,
Categories : Business

Leave a comment